On December 12, the NYS Assembly passed Big I NY-supported legislation to eliminate an unnecessary burden on customers by repealing the anti-arson application statewide.
Section 3403 of the Insurance Law requires the completion of an “anti-arson application" for people seeking property insurance for fire or explosion to complete. If a policyholder fails to complete this application, which is required upon initial application for insurance and on each subsequent renewal of the policy, the insurer must cancel the policy.
Technology has advance dramatically since the application was first required, and the law has outlived its usefulness. Insurance companies today are required by law to have fraud prevention plans, which are filed with the State, on how they detect, investigate, and prevent fraudulent activities. These fraud prevention plans are far more effective than the anti-arson application form which simply asks a series of questions. The law is just a paperwork burden for policyholders who risk losing coverage if the paperwork is not completed. Recent legislation scaled back the current law to remove cities with a population of less than 1 million, leaving New York City as the last jurisdiction with this requirement.
Big I NY thanks the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D, Brooklyn) for championing this critical pro-customer reform. The bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by the governor before becoming law.
On December 31st, Governor Hochul signed the “Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act" (CIDA) on the condition that the legislature would swiftly pass several changes to the bill, referred to as “chapter amendments." The bill as signed requires, among other things, defendants in a lawsuit to automatically disclose all insurance information, including the policy application, within 60 days of answering for new actions and by March 31, 2022 for all pending actions. The chapter amendments agreed upon by Governor Hochul and the legislative leaders would exempt the policy application from automatic disclosure. These amendments are expected to be passed soon, but at the time of writing they have not been introduced in either house.
How it Affects You:
The CIDA took effect on December 31,2021, and while beneficial amendments are in the works and virtually certain to be adopted, the law as originally written currently stands. We have heard from several members whose customers have already been notified of the requirement to produce all insurance information. Furthermore, while we fully expect the chapter amendments exempting insurance applications from automatic disclosure will be passed prior to the March 1st deadline, we do not yet know if the amendments will be retroactive back to the December 31, 2021.
Big I NY Has Your Back:
We will closely monitor and report on the status of the CIDA chapter amendments and if they are retroactive. Throughout 2021, Big I NY consistently opposed the CIDA, culminating with a statewide call-in campaign to Governor Hochul. We are pleased that our greatest concern with the bill, disclosure of the full policy application, will be resolved.
Without competitive insurance markets, your agency can't grow and get to the next level. We know the more markets your agency can easily access, the better your chances of writing and retaining business, so we have made market access an integral part of your membership.
In 2020, we made the investment to be a part of Independent Market Solutions (IMS) and, since that time, we have grown market availability in New York to include 10 participating carriers that offer personal, commercial, and various specialty lines.
IMS programs are designed to give agencies of all sizes the opportunity to gain carrier appointments as IMS sub-producers. Certain insurance markets also feature the opportunity to “graduate" to a direct appointment once the carrier's minimum premium threshold and performance standards are met. While working as an IMS sub-producer, agencies are paid competitive commissions, enjoy 100 percent ownership of expirations, and can participate in earned contingencies.
Access to IMS is an exclusive Big I NY member benefit, and that simply means you can be assured of the most agent-friendly terms available that perpetuate and add to the prosperity of independent agencies.
To learn more about IMS and how to sign up to start writing business, visit IMSAccess.com.
By Sue Keegan, AIC, MBA, Learning & Development Manager
It’s that time already – the window is open for business entities regulated by the NYS DFS to submit their annual certification of compliance with the cybersecurity regulation. The requirements have not changed (other than a later deadline) since the first regulation took effect in 2017. Click here for a reminder of what does and does not have to be done.
Please also check out our cyber page
for all the cyber compliance information you’ve ever wanted, and more.
Check out our Answer Center
. If you’ve got a question, we’ve probably already answered it.
What’s your word of the year? We talked a little bit about this in our staff meeting today and it got me thinking. To get the most out of 2022, try choosing a word that “captures your values and intentions for the next year.” My word for 2022 is tenacious
. Let me know your word via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or post in our Community
On Wednesday, Governor Hochul kicked off the official start of the 2022 legislative session with her first State of the State address. Speaking from the Assembly Chamber, Hochul outlined her agenda for the coming year. The wide ranging address outlined initiatives for economic recovery, strengthening the healthcare economy, investing in infrastructure and renewable energy, and restoring trust in government. Notably, she proposed constitutional amendment to impose a two-term limit for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller.
Key Takeaways from State of the State:
- Non-Compete/No-Poach Ban Proposed: Governor Hochul indicated she would propose legislation to eliminate non-compete agreements for workers making below the median wage in New York State and to explicitly ban all “no-poach" agreements under State antitrust law. It is unclear to what extent this proposal would affect the IA community, since it does not specify if commissions are included in “median wage" and/or if this wage is by industry and occupation, as is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We believe the widespread ban on non-compete and no-poach agreements would be unnecessary and harmful to our industry. This legislation has yet to be introduced.
- Focus on Enhancing Current Healthcare System: The State of the State briefing book identifies numerous changes reduce the cost of healthcare and reduce the state's uninsured population, as well as rebuilding our healthcare workforce and economy. Conspicuously absent is any mention of a single-payer healthcare system. We are encouraged to see Governor Hochul focus on enhancing the current health insurance system rather than supporting a costly and unnecessary single-payer system.
- Infrastructure Projects: The Governor's commitment to rebuilding infrastructure as a driver of economic recovery, including $1B each for bridge and highway repair programs and a multitude of infrastructure projects across the state, will benefit your customers in the construction industry.
Hochul Signs Insurance Disclosure with Big I NY-Supported Amendments:
Following our grassroots call-in campaign which drew well over 100 phone calls from concerned agents, Governor Hochul signed the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act on the condition that several favorable amendments be made. The original bill, which we strongly opposed, would have required the automatic disclosure of all insurance information within 60 days of litigation, including the full policy application. This could have created substantial burdens and potential E&O exposure for agents, as well as compromising sensitive customer information. The agreed upon amendments remove the policy application from automatic disclosure, lengthen the time frame to 90 days, and will not apply to motor vehicle PIP litigation. This is a significant win for independent agents and our customers, and it would not have been possible without all who took the time to voice your concerns!
Insurance Modernization Bills Signed:
Governor Hochul signed into law S.653-A (Sanders)/A.651-A (Rosenthal), which modernizes the insurance law to allow e-delivery of notices of cancellation, discontinuance or other major changes to property and casualty policies. Furthermore, legislation was signed to improve the customer experience by allowing notarizations to be performed via video conference (S.1780-C Skoufis/A.399-B Rozic)
You and other independent insurance agents across the country are doing commendable work taking care of your clients, staff, family, friends, and communities during the pandemic. While we were all hopeful that 2022 would be the start of the final chapter in the COVID-19 story, that does not seem to be the case. We want to be sure you are aware of the January 4, 2022 guidance provided by the New York Department of Health regarding Interim Updated Isolation & Quarantine Recommendations.
A host of resources are available on our Coronavirus Resource page. To support our mission of helping our members be successful, we have assembled experts and tools to assist you with all aspects of your business during the pandemic. Big I New York always your back.
CAE, AAI, AISPresident & CEO
Guidance to help agents and brokers comply with a new federal law requiring disclosure of health insurance compensation is now available from the Big "I" and the federal government. The requirement took effect late last month.
Section 202 of the December 2020 omnibus government funding legislation signed into law by former President Donald Trump included new compensation disclosure requirements for health insurance agents and brokers. The requirements took effect on Dec. 27, 2021.
After the requirements took effect last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) released Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-03, which provides further guidance and announces the DOL's temporary enforcement policy for group health plan service provider disclosures under ERISA section 408(b)(2)(B).
The Big “I" worked with outside counsel to produce a FAQ document and sample disclosure form, which includes the new guidance from DOL. In consultation with the Big “I" Government Affairs and Big “I" Office of General Counsel staff, these documents were prepared by Brad Campbell, a partner at the law firm of Faegre, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits.
Now that the calendar has turned the page and left 2021 in the rearview mirror, the window is open for business entities regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services to submit the annual certification of compliance with the
cybersecurity regulation. The requirements have not changed (other than a later deadline) since the regulation first took effect in 2017, but here's a reminder of what does and does not have to be done:
- Business entities (agencies, brokerages, insurers, banks, credit unions, etc.) must visit the
DFS cybersecurity portal and submit the certification on or before
April 15, 2022. DFS pushed that deadline back 45 days in
2020 because of the pandemic, but it reverted back to April 15 last year and remains that date.
- If you don't remember how to submit the certification, refer to these:
- The regulation does not require licensed employees of an agency or brokerage to submit the certification.
- The regulation does not require licensed employees to re-submit a
notice of exemption unless they have changed employers.
- DFS does not offer a way for the public to determine the exemption a specific licensed individual submitted.
- If you have a license in your personal name and want to find out what exemption you submitted, we suggest you write to email@example.com, provide your license number, and ask for details on your exemption.
Every resource we have on compliance with this regulation can be found at
www.biginy.org/cyber and in the
News section of this website.